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West Indies vs England: Jos Buttler, Will Jacks and Sam Curran star as tourists level ODI series

Jos Buttler passed 5,000 runs in ODI cricket as England levelled the three-match series, while Will Jacks made 73; three wickets apiece from Sam Curran (3-33) and Liam Livingstone (3-39) helped bowl the Windies out for 202 despite a century stand from Shai Hope and Sherfane Rutherford

ANTIGUA, ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA - DECEMBER 06: Jos Buttler of England hits a six during the 2nd CG United One Day International match between West Indies and England at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium on December 06, 2023 in Antigua, Antigua and Barbuda. (Photo by Ashley Allen/Getty Images)
Image: Jos Buttler reached a career milestone as England eased to victory over the West Indies in the second ODI

Jos Buttler passed 5,000 runs in ODI cricket and Will Jacks led the way with a half-century as England levelled the series against the West Indies with a six-wicket win in Antigua.

Sam Curran justified England's faith in him after his struggles in the first ODI by taking 3-33 from seven overs to put the hosts on the back foot early on after Buttler won the toss and fielded first, while Liam Livingstone claimed a vital 3-39 to help dismiss the Windies for 202 in 39.4 overs.

Once again, captain Shai Hope proved the anchor for the West Indies with a run-a-ball 68 (six fours, one six) and putting on a century stand with Sherfane Rutherford, who notched a half-century in only his second ODI, but they received little support from elsewhere in the batting line-up.

Jacks' 73 from 72 balls (six fours, four sixes) then set England on course to set up a decider in the three-match series Bridgetown on Saturday, while Buttler passed his career milestone en route to 58 not out as part of an unbeaten fifth-wicket partnership with Harry Brook (43 not out) to seal victory.

Curran, Livingstone come to fore with ball

England, and Curran in particular, could hardly have asked for a better start after choosing to bowl first as the West Indies were reduced to 23-4 by the seventh over.

Gus Atkinson made the initial breakthrough in the fourth over after skipper Buttler successfully reviewed a caught behind decision against opening bat Alick Athanaze, with replays showing an inside edge from the left-hander which saw him depart for four.

Curran, who returned expensive figures of 0-98 from 9.5 overs in Sunday's four-wicket defeat in the opening match of the series, struck for the first time the very next over, tempting new batter Keacy Carty into a thick edge which was caught by Zak Crawley in the slips to dismiss him for a duck.

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Sam Curran (Getty Images)
Image: Sam Curran rebounded from his disappointing showing in the first ODI to take three early wickets

The Curran-Crawley combination accounted for Brandon King for 17 in a similar manner two overs later and then the left-arm seamer removed Shimron Hetmeyer without scoring off the final ball of the over, trapping him lbw which was given after another DRS referral from the tourists.

Hope, along with new batter Rutherford, set about rebuilding the West Indies' innings though and the skipper breezed his way to 50 from just 44 balls, including five fours and a six which saw the right-hander hoist Brydon Carse over deep midwicket in the 15th over.

The pair would go on to make a fifth-wicket partnership of 129 to seemingly guide the hosts away from trouble, but the introduction of spinner Livingstone to the attack precipitated the end of their resistance.

Rutherford was the first to go in the 30th over, departing for 63 as he picked out Phil Salt in the covers, and he was followed by Yannic Cariah two overs later when he was clean bowled by Livingstone.

West Indies' captain Shai Hope hits a four against England during the first ODI cricket match at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in North Sound, Antigua and Barbuda, Sunday, Dec. 3, 2023. (AP Photo/Ricardo Mazalan)
Image: Shai Hope again led the way for the West Indies with the bat

The captain became Livingstone's third victim in the 34th over when he played all round a delivery from the right-armer and then fellow spinner Rehan Ahmed got in on the act, having Romario Shepherd caught on the boundary by Crawley after an enterprising 19 from 17 balls by the No 8.

Seamer Atkinson returned to get Alzarri Joseph (14) caught and bowled, and Ahmed wrapped up the innings when Gudakesh Motie was caught by him off Curran for six, leaving England chasing 203 to level the series.

Jacks sets the tone before Buttler, Brook see England home

Jacks and Salt made a blistering start to England's innings, racing to 50 without loss inside six overs, but the latter's dismissal soon after when he was clean bowled through the gate by Shepherd for 21 brought an end to the partnership.

Slow left-armer Motie then accounted for both Crawley and Duckett (both three), with the right-hander dragging onto his stumps and the left-hander edging to wicketkeeper Hope to leave England three wickets down with 118 runs still required.

ANTIGUA, ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA - DECEMBER 06: Will Jacks of England batts during the 2nd CG United One Day International match between West Indies and England at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium on December 06, 2023 in Antigua, Antigua and Barbuda. (Photo by Ashley Allen/Getty Images)
Image: Will Jacks made 73 to set England firmly on course to chase down the target of 203

That served to help check England's run-rate and although Jacks stood firm, he was eventually removed by Rutherford in the 20th over when he was trapped lbw. However, Buttler and Brook soon got the response back on track.

Buttler was at his attacking best as he clattered 58 from just 45 balls, including bringing up his 26th ODI half-century with a six back down the ground as England closed in on victory. He and Brook, who made a well-paced 43 from 49 balls, shared an unbeaten 90 stand as the tourists cantered to victory with 103 balls to spare.

What they said

Player of the match Sam Curran

"I am really pleased. I had a tough day the other day, but you have to move forward and bounce back."

West Indies captain Shai Hope

"We didn't start as well as we could have with the bat and put ourselves under pressure. We also didn't finish well and play the situations; we weren't smart enough. That led to our downfall.

"But I must also take the positives. Sherfane Rutherford played a great innings. You can see he has matured as a batter."

England captain Jos Buttler

"I have been searching a little bit for form so it was great to spend time in the middle. There is no substitute for that.

"Being not out at the end to get your side over the line is a great feeling."

What's next?

The series heads to Barbados for the final match of the ODI leg of the tour on Saturday, December 9 at the Kensington Oval. Play is due to begin at 5.30pm GMT.

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